How To Get Your Needs Met

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Posted October 7, 2013 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five
couple picture

Couples so often struggle with the balance of meeting one another’s needs and finding ways to have theirs met AND meeting their own needs.  The ‘AND’ is key. All too often couples assume that their partner can and should meet all of their needs. That your great romantic relationship is a one stop shop for all of your intimacy needs.  This is a recipe for disaster. This isn’t because your partner isn’t fabulous, they surely are. It is however, doomsday because no ONE person can be everything we need.

There’s lots of different types of intimacy  Ready for a few?

  • Social/Recreational- Doing: movies, parties, gatherings, shuffleboard tournaments, Model Trains
  • Sexual- All of the goodies and mattress mambo.
  • Physical- (Different from sexual) Hugs, kisses, handholding.
  • Emotional- sharing of feelings, vulnerability.
  • Intellectual- Sharing ideas, reading, discussions.
  • Aesthetic intimacy- sharing experiences of beauty; music, nature, art, theater
  • Communication intimacy- processing, listening, constructive feedback.
  • Creative intimacy- growth, being a creator
  • Spiritual intimacy- meanings of life, philosophies and religious experience

So your partner probably has all of these pieces as do you. However, asking them to meet all of your needs has them coming up short. Which intimacy needs of yours aren’t getting met by your partner?  You might decide that sexual intimacy isn’t one that you’d like to seek outside of your relationship (monogamy) and you might notice that your partner is an introvert and you’re an extrovert. Your social needs may not be totally met by your partner.  Which friends meet those needs additionally?

This may be challenging if you aren’t sure which of your needs are most important to you.  Most people have a top two or three needs where, if they’re primarily met, feel content.  Your top needs and your partner’s top needs may vary. That’s totally ok. It probably helps you both to know which ones are most important.

Finding ways to support one another in getting your intimacy needs met totally boosts and strengthens your relationship.  If one of my major top needs is a spiritual practice and you’re just not that into it, that can still be ok as long as you can support whatever I need to put into getting that need met. You with me?

Grab your partner and pick your top few needs and figure out how awesome you two are at meeting each other’s intimacy needs and where you’d like to improve. Keep me posted.

Whatever intimacy needs would you add to the list?


About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”

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